Let there be light


A rare December snowfall in the Oakland hills

A rare December snowfall in the Oakland hills

Let there be light! Zillions of little LED lights are spreading holiday cheer across the land. The Oakland Zoo http://www.oaklandzoo.org/ got a big batch of them from China this year, and unlike last year, they actually work. Look for the Zoo Lights event to be one of the best ever – especially with the prospect of a dry December.

Montclair Village is showing its holiday finery. Window dressing is back in vogue and the Holiday Stroll was a nice way to bring hills folks into town. Some did their shopping, with many more just popping in for a cookie and a cup of cheer.

But the season is just getting started. One of my favorite events is tonight (Friday, December 12) at the Ascension Cathedral. http://www.groca.org/. Their gift to the community is a splendid Christmas concert with orchestra, choir, hand bells and more. I try to go every year.

And for something a little different, try caroling on a motorized cable car http://www.cablecarcharters.com/ through the streets of San Francisco . We did this the other night on a 90 minute ride past bustling Union Square and all along the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf. The lights of the city at Christmas are magnificent. Start your tour at Union Square and you can ice skate on the rink across from Macy’s when you’re done. Make sure you stop for a tea in the lobby of the newly-remodeled Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill.

Rumor Mill: The buzz in the village is that Starbucks is closing early next year. “Not true” say employees, who’ve heard the report for weeks. It’s the Starbucks in Montclair in Southern California that’s closing, along with a string of other stores.

Meanwhile, the old Royal Ground coffee shop in Montclair is close to its reincarnation as a café. Finally, the back room will be used for something besides a sparsely-appointed art gallery. That’s where the new kitchen will be for this eatery, owned by Miguel Barron of the Egg Shop.

Crime Update: It’s great to hear that Montclair finally has its own “Problem Solving Officer,” Maureen Vergara. There have been 70 residential burglaries in 2 1/2 months and Vergara will have her hands full keeping on top of the increase in crime. We can help by reporting all crimes and suspicious activity. If a crime is in progress call 911. For any other report, call the non-emergency number 777-3333. If you are using your cell phone, call 777-3211 or you’ll get routed through CHP.

Mail Bag: An anonymous reader (perhaps publicity shy) has sent me a card saying how much she enjoys the Montclair Farmers Market – with one exception. “They have the largest turnout of dogs we’ve ever seen,” she writes. “Please ask the Business Association to put up bigger signs that say NO DOGS.”

Animal Tales: Thanks to Mike Petouhoff for snapping a shot of the plucky gobbler who’s been hanging out in Shepherd Canyon . He says there’s a rafter of turkeys (also called a gang or a gobble) in the canyon, including a nesting pair that had six turkey chicks last spring. Some of the family has stayed in the area, which is quite a feat in this economy. They must have a “nest egg”.


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